Stories published in February, 2013

Veena Malik, your publicity stunts disgust me

Veena Malik, the infamous yet controversial star was recently exported to India. No surprise here, she broke the 108 kisses Guinness World Record set by Salman Khan and was able to win over 137 kisses on her hand in a span of a minute. PHOTO: IANS  However, while some may think it is a proud moment for Pakistan, I beg to differ. We didn’t need Veena’s cheap publicity stunt to set a record. This has brought little more than disgust to all of us. However, it pleases me to say that this is not the only record Pakistanis hold. Pakistanis have made ...

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Why I am not impressed by ‘Naya Pakistan’

These are dark and trying times for Pakistan. Violence, sectarian conflict and political turmoil have led the people of this country to the brink of a ‘national nervous breakdown’. We sometimes need a hug, even if it’s in the form of a song. On paper, it is the perfect time, thus, for a song like “Naya Pakistan” to mark its place in the hearts of patriots who have lost hope and faith in a Pakistan that was once fought very hard for. Musically, the song has a great introduction, a good beat and strong guitar solos. Junaid Jamshed’s voice sets the tone ...

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In memory of Malik Mumtaz Khan

I met Malik Mumtaz Khan, a tribal journalist from North Waziristan back in 2011 in Bannu. At the time, I was conducting a safety and security training for tribal journalists, arranged by the Intermedia, Pakistan. Malik came across as very cooperative and friendly, though not very talkative. He kept rather quiet during most of the workshop, except when it was necessary to say something. Like many things in life, Malik landed at my training session by chance – he tagged along with a few other journalists. Hence, it struck a particular chord, when on Wednesday blaring headlines announced 48-year-old Malik Mumtaz’s death ...

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Killed and forgotten: Another ‘police encounter’

“The criminal was killed in a police encounter” This, unfortunately, is becoming an all-too common phrase among the law enforcers, especially the Punjab Police, which have become notorious for extrajudicial killings in recent years. Over 300 suspects were killed in police encounters in Punjab last year, and this month alone there have been five in Rawalpindi, including two brothers. Ghulam Sajjad and Malik Jamshaid were shot dead during a raid by a team of elite force led by two security officers at the Katarian locality, to arrest ‘some terrorists’. An elite force commando was also killed in the shoot-out. The way the ...

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Have Whatmore and our selectors failed us?

If the Pakistan Test team was a stock, and Dav Whatmore was a chairman of the board, the stock price would have fallen through the floor and Whatmore would have been replaced. If the PCB selection committee was the board of directors, they would be fending off angry shareholders and most likely in danger of losing their seats as well. Unfortunately, the Pakistan Cricket Board has no shareholders to answer to. It’s been one year since Dav Whatmore took over, and the same goes for the selection committee. The company has gone bankrupt. What happened in South Africa underlines the fact ...

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In Lahore: Bridging divides through culture

As I was taking my place in the audience at the first Lahore Literary Festival, all eager and ready to report for this paper, my gaze took in around 50 or so young people milling about. It was 9:30am on the morning of February 23 and there they all were, dressed up in their fashionable best, to hear that leftist Tariq Ali speak about all things revolutionary. And there I was, thinking it was mandatory for all young people to stay in bed past midday at the weekend. This is not to say that the Festival was without groupies. Much ...

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Michelle Obama had no place at the Oscars!

Ben Affleck created magic in the shape of Argo, a movie that deserved an Oscar this year, not because it was political but because it has all the essentials of an excellent movie. Along with a good script, the direction was brilliant, the cinematography was spot on, and above all it showcased a very good display of acting. The thriller is adapted from the book “The Master of Disguise” by CIA operative Tony Mendez and Joshuah Berman’s article “The Great Escape” . It is the story of the Central Intelligence Agency rescue of six US diplomats from Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The role of ...

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Why I believe the jirga system should stay

We, as people, are very quick to jump to conclusions, form opinions, and criticise what we hear and see in the news. It may be something as trivial as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) holding talks with Tahirul Qadri, or the supposedly fake video that went viral showing the Taliban handing down 50 lashes to a girl in Swat who was found to be in violation of the Shariah law by the Taliban jirga. Very recently when a jirga in Balochistan declared 13 girls vani to settle a tribal feud, soon after television and social media were inundated with extreme views, some slammed the jirga system as ‘barbaric’, ‘medieval’ and an ...

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No accountability, no solutions

As elections approach, political parties have started criticising each other. The temperature is only going to rise in the coming days. From law and order to poor economic indicators, everything is surfacing in fiery speeches. But if one looks closely, the parties conveniently avoid offering solutions. Take the example of the national carrier. Bogged down by accumulated losses of over Rs100 billion, PIA is in a mess. The PPP government changed the airline’s top management more than twice but that did little to lift its fortunes. Even the well-connected managing director Aijaz Haroon was forced to quit by the formidable alliance ...

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Jahaiz, destroying families one wedding at a time

The absurdity of the dowry norm, commonly known as jahaiz, prevalent in our society has long been debated. I did not realise the gravity of the issue until recently when my father’s cousin had to sell off his shop — the sole source of income for his family — to arrange the jahaiz for his daughter. The girl is now happily married to a financially stable guy but her family back home is finding it hard to survive. Her mother, who started sewing clothes to earn a living, has developed an eye illness that cannot be treated due to the treatment’s high ...

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